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European Commission's President Quietly Deletes Draft Speech Referencing 100,000 Dead Ukrainian Soldiers

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen caused controversy when a video of a speech she gave referenced the alleged deaths of 100,000 Ukrainian servicemembers.

The video, which was quickly deleted, did not escape the attention of Europe’s Slavic neighbors in Ukraine and Russia, with the latter utilizing it to claim success in the conflict.

“Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has brought death, devastation and unspeakable suffering,” von der Leyen said as she started her speech. But for those who heard her words later, a significant assertion was omitted from the original.

“We all remember the horrors of Bucha,” she continued in the original video posted on Twitter. “It is estimated that more than 20,000 civilians and 100,000 Ukrainian military officers have been killed so far.”

Von der Leyen’s comments, which provoked negative reactions from Ukrainian officials, appeared to erroneously cite a previous estimate from Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

However, Milley, who revealed the estimates during a speech he gave at the Economic Club of New York, was speaking about casualties and not fatalities.

According to the general, “well over 100,000 Russian soldiers” had been killed or wounded since the start of the conflict. And, according to Milley, American intelligence indicated that Ukraine was probably dealing with a similar situation.

After being notified about their error, the commission quickly removed the video and uploaded an edited version with the sentence removed.

Dana Spinant, the EU commission’s deputy chief spokeswoman, issued a comment about the decision:

Speaking to Ukrainska Pravda, Bohdan Senyk, a spokesman for Ukraine’s military, refused to confirm or deny the figure.

“We cannot confirm this figure, we emphasize that the losses of the Ukrainian army are official information,” the he said.

According to Senyk, Ukraine has restricted the public disclosure of casualties and the official refused to comment further on the matter.

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